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Posts Tagged ‘Southern Poverty and Law Center’

‘Gay Cure’ Therapists Sued for Fraud

AP Photos/Tara Todras-WhitehillDepending on how closely you follow the news, you may have heard a bit about one of this country’s most unusual cottage industries: A series of independent practitioners offering a service called “reparative” or, more colloquially, “gay cure” therapy. The niche discipline is popular enough to earn an official ban from the State of California (when applied to subjects under the age of 18).

These “medical” professionals claim to be able to relieve individuals suffering from unwanted bouts of homosexuality; they’ve received a bit of attention from the political press over the past few years, and they’re about to face the biggest PR challenge in the history of their (relatively new) practice.

The most interesting part about this case is that it concerns the Orthodox Jewish community, most of whose members believe homosexuality to be forbidden by the Torah. Four young men whose rabbis urged them to seek reparative therapy with a group called JONAH (Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing) are now suing the organization for fraud with the backing of the Southern Poverty and Law Center, a non-profit known for defending those with contradictory opinions both popular and unpopular.

The defendants’ lawsuit states that the group, whose director believes that “homosexuality is a learned behavior, which can be unlearned”, falsely advertised its services—and some of the practices involved in the JONAH “solution” are unconventional, to say the least.

One thing is clear: the immediate future presents a series of uphill battles for gay cure therapists.

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Group Sued for Using Engagement Photo in Anti-Gay Mailer

New Jersey couple Brian Edwards and Thomas Privitere followed their 2010 Connecticut marriage with the photo shoot of their dreams in New York’s lovely Brooklyn Bridge Park. (Full disclosure: Your editor’s wedding shoot was also held in the park, so we salute them for their good taste.)

All good, right? But the newlyweds didn’t expect their heartfelt image to be co-opted by an anti-gay political advocacy group called Public Advocate of the United States for use in mailers denouncing two Colorado state senate candidates for their support of same-sex civil union rights. (We do love the Google search subtext for the group’s website, which reads “Eugene Delgaudio is fighting Liberals Tyrants Elitists Homosexuals Barack Obama pornography gay marriage same-sex marriage high taxes over-regulation.” A true classic that touches all the bases! SEO win!)

The group used an image of the couple kissing on the mailer, replacing the Brooklyn Bridge background with a strange pine tree scene and a text message reading “State Senator —’s Idea of ‘Family Values?’” While it’s not clear where the group acquired the picture, the couple did feature it on their engagement blog.  In June, a friend noticed the mailers and told the couple about them.

And then things got ugly.

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